3 tech ways to boost your in-house and remote employee engagement

| November 22, 2018

All too often, when we think of businesses or companies, we think of them like a car or a cell phone – an object that someone owns. The truth is, that while someone generally does own a company, a company is not actually an object. More than anything else, a business or company is a group of people working together to achieve a common goal. Unlike a cell phone, you can’t just program your business to do something and expect it to do it.

The problem with traditional “top-down” leadership is that you cannot just “command” employees to do things and expect them to perform optimally. In truth, people tend to give their best when you create the right conditions for them to do so. The question of how to create those conditions, however, is one that has plagued every leader from the dawn of time, ranging from generals to coaches to CEO’s.

One key to human motivation is engagement. People care about things they are invested in. Being invested in a company, endeavor or enterprise doesn’t just mean a financial investment, it also means engagement.Creating employee engagement is one of the most critical aspects of building a successful company. Thankfully, technology can help. Here are 3 tech ways to boost both in-house and remote employee engagement.

1. Use project management tools

You might think that project management tools are just for project managers. Digital project management apps, however, allow the entire teamto see the status of any given project, allow them to see where there are excelling, where they are falling behind and even ways in which they can help their teammates out.

In fact, many project management apps are based on the Kanban system. The Kanban system was originally developed by Toyota as a hybrid of the assembly line system originally created by Henry Ford and the delivery system utilized by American grocery stores.

More than anything, however, what the Kanban system did was facilitate involvement by the employees at every level.Many employees often feel like a small cog in a giant wheel. Remember, however, that even the smallest cog has the ability to completely cripple the most giant wheel. Visual project management tools create engagement by helping every employee feel they have something valuable to contribute the whole.

2. Foster and facilitate allkinds of communication- but not all means.

While employers have long frowned on the idea of “wasting time socializing” at work, it turns that socializing is actually an incredibly valuable part of doing business. Good communication tools don’t just foster business communication, but personal communication as well. Providing good communication tools for your employees is particularly important at a time when remote work and telecommuting is on the rise. Good communication tools can help telecommuters stay connected, no matter how much distance they are actually separated by. Doing so will keep connections strong, and they will feel like part of the company.

There also need to be healthy boundaries set around communication tools as well. While collaboration is, of course, important, new studies show that employees are actually spending up to 80% of their time on collaborative activities like answering emails, texts, instant messages or giving and receiving feedback. In short, it leaves them little time to work.

Just because there are multiple means of communicating with your employees – and them with each other – does not mean you should use them all. Pick one or at most two modes of communication and get everyone using it. If possible, you should avoid using text messages on their personal cell phone as one of those means of communication. Employees need to be free to disengagefrom work at the end of the day and they shouldn’t have to turn off their cell phone to do it.

3. Get to know your employees

Every few years there is some hot new trend in the business world. Ropes courses, gamification and “locked room” activities are all some of the hottest team-building and engagement trends in the last few years. The truth is, however, that what is right for one company may not be right for yours.

While gamificaton may be one of the best things to happen to a small tech company employing dozens of Millennials, it may make the employees of an older manufacturing company bristle. If you don’t find the righttools to unite your employees, you may have a mutiny on your hands.

Yes, sometimes you need to get employees out of their comfort zones in order to create growth, but when it comes to pushing people out of their comfort zones, it is always best to proceed with caution. In most cases, the people best equipped to tell you what your employees need are your employees. This is also where technology can help.

The more feedback you get from your employees about the type of environment they want to work in, the types of benefits they want and even the types of impact they want the company to have, the better. From online surveys to continuous improvement software, technology can help create a better bridge between employees and the individuals tasked with managing them.

Employees will work the hardest for companies when they feel their work is actually making a difference – and possibly even harder than that when they feel their work is noticed. Technology gives employers more ability than ever before to actually see and noticewhat their employees are doing. It’s up to you, however, to make it happen.